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Capitalize on African biodiversity – H E Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim FIAS

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Artemisinin, ginkgolides, quinine, reserpine, scopolamine, paclitaxel. What do these molecules have in common? They are all extracted from plants and transformed into useful drugs, treating conditions including malaria, nausea, cancer and high blood pressure. None of the plants is from Africa.

Almost 60% of commercially available drugs are based on molecules derived from natural sources. Yet only 83 of some 1,100 blockbuster drugs of this type originate from Africa. Meanwhile, tropical and subtropical Africa has up to 45,000 plant species that may hold value for industry and humanity. This multitude represents at least 25% of the world’s plant genetic resources.

With the appropriate infrastructure — technical, legal and regulatory — this treasure trove could translate into enormous wealth. In my view, this would create opportunities for Africa’s youth. I have been laying the groundwork for that translation as an academic, documenting uses of medicinal plants, as an entrepreneur and, most recently, as president of Mauritius. My island nation of 1.3 million people lies in the Indian Ocean about 1,100 kilometres east of Madaga­scar. I was elected by parliament in 2015, and am charged with upholding Mauritians’ fundamental rights and helping our institutions. I believe key to both tasks is our unique biodiversity.

Very few African countries have made similar efforts. And species are disappearing fast, owing to climate change, habitat loss, development and other pressures. The extinction rate on the continent is almost twice the global average. Mauritius and nearby islands are designated as biodiversity hotspots; yet almost 100 species have become extinct since the arrival of people in the seventeenth century, and only 2% of the native forest remains.

What’s more, traditional information about the uses of plants is usually transmitted orally rather than formally catalogued, and recipes are considered trade and family secrets and so unlikely to be shared. As the African proverb states, an elderly person’s death can be like a library burning to the ground. For too long, we have underestimated and undervalued the insight into our flora and fauna contained in this lore.

Documentation is crucial. As a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Mauritius, I started my career collecting traditional knowledge of locally used medicinal and aromatic plants and grew to realize their huge economic potential. I became a co-founder of the African Association of Medicinal Plants Standards (AAMPS). The AAMPS is a network of dozens of researchers who came together to create the first African Herbal Pharmacopoeia — a scientific database of medicinal plants, and of tests to assess their chemical components and purity. A second volume will be published by 2018.

To commercialize this knowledge — to help it ‘cross the valley of death’ from lab bench to marketplace — I founded a start-up, the Centre for Phytotherapy Research (CEPHYR), in 2009. In 2015, this was rebranded as the Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique (CIDP); it searches out innovative ingredients from our local species and brings them up to internationally recognized standards.

Many African plant products are showing promise. Standardized extracts of Sceletium tortuosumhave been tested for their tranquillizing properties. The recipe came from the San people of southern Africa. An extract of the hoodia cactus-like plant, also long used by the San to control hunger, was explored as an appetite suppressant by Pfizer and Unilever. Other extracts of African plants — including nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) and seed oil of the baobab (Adansonia spp.) — are used commercially in skin and beauty products.

These successes illustrate an opportunity to rethink Africa’s development outside extractive industries. High-quality tertiary education and research would transform our capacity to build on these pockets of promise, as Brazil has shown. In addition, closer partnerships must be developed with philanthropy and the private sector. The CIDP emerged thus; it employs 200 people, and is just one company. There is potential for many more.

Of course, such partnerships must be managed carefully, as I learnt the hard way. I found myself mired in controversy this year after I tried to forge links to build scientific capacity with a London-based charity — Planet Earth Institute, founded by the African businessman Álvaro Sobrinho. The charity has some internationally acclaimed trustees. After scholarships had been awarded to young Mauritians, I withdrew from this initiative following alleged concerns about the business operations.

But bumps in the road should not divert African nations such as mine from becoming producers of knowledge. African academics, funders and policymakers must begin to find new ways to nurture the talents and energy of our young people. Empowered with the latest technology, my hope is that innovators and entrepreneurs will develop a meritocratic culture. My dream is that biodiversity, soundly managed, will bring that sort of bounty to Africa.

Nature

https://www.nature.com/news/capitalize-on-african-biodiversity-1.22388

Astana to host OIC Summit on Science and Technologies in September 2017

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ASTANA. KAZINFORM In 2017, Astana will host the Summit on Science and Technologies of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, according to Majilis Speaker Nurlan Nigmatulin.

“We are always ready for cooperation with other countries in development of new technologies and innovations. In this regard, the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to hold the OIC Summit on Science and Technologies in Astana in 2017 gains a special importance,” said Nigmatulin at the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Forum for Science, Technologies and Innovations.

“The event will give a new impetus to strengthening international ties in development of science and innovations,” the Majilis Speaker explained.

“In our opinion, we need to concentrate our efforts on implementation of the economic development projects and enhancing the role of science and technologies in the Islamic countries to improve social condition of the population,” he stressed.

Noteworthy to say, that the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Forum for Science, Technologies and Innovations includes seven thematic sessions. On the first day of the Forum, the participants will discuss  the policy in the sphere of science, technologies and innovations. The agenda includes also issues of formation of legislative base for the development of education and science sectors in the era of globalization, the role of parliamentarians and the ways of their interaction with the national institutions in implementation of national programs and priorities. The participants will debate also research and technical dimensions in productivity. Parliamentarians, governmental officials, researchers and experts from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, the Comoro  Islands, Pakistan, The Gambia, the Republic of Mali etc. will share their experience at the event.

On the second day of the Forum, the participants will discuss the cooperation  among the countries in science, technologies and innovations.

The international experience of India, UAE, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco and Tajikistan will be considered as well. The issue of transition to “green economy” will be in spotlight of the Forum too.

During the Forum, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) will present its research into the best models of regulatory-legal framework and incentive mechanisms in the field of science, technologies and innovations in the OIC member and non-member countries.

ISESCO is an active partner in organization of parliamentary forums together with the UNESCO. It contributes to strengthening the role of parliaments’ science committees or commissions in effective implementation of scientific-technical policy and establishment of cooperation among various components of innovation systems as well as in attraction and concentration of resources for the promotion of Kazakhstan’s scientific development.

A final document – Astana Declaration on Strengthening Inter-Parliamentary Islamic Cooperation in the field of Science, Technologies and Innovations – will be signed after the two-day Forum.

The Forum is organized by the Majilis of the Kazakhstan Parliament together with the ISESCO and Islamic Development Bank.

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The late Prof. Mustafa Doruk FIAS (Turkey)

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 It is with a sense of sadness and sorrow that the President and the Director General of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) in Amman, Jordan, announce the passing away of the eminent Turkish scientist: Prof. Mustafa Doruk, Founding Fellow of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences. He was 85.

Prof. Doruk was born on February 23, 1932. He was educated in Turkey, and West Germany, and received the following degrees: (1953) Engineer in Mechanical Engineering, Engineering School, Yildiz/ Istanbul, Turkey.

(1956) Dip-Ing (Higher Diploma), in Mechanical Engineering, Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany. (1961) Dr-Ing (PhD) in Materials Science, Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany.

During the period 1963-1970, he was Assistant Professor at the Middle East Technical University METU, Department of Metallurgical Engineering; Assoc. Prof. (1970-1976), and Full Professor since 1976. He was a United Nations Scholar at the University of California at Los Angeles, Calif. (1972-1973) and Visiting Professor at Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany (1979). He was Chairman of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at METU (1965-1969); Assistant President and Acting President at METU (1974-1977); and then Dean of Faculty of Engineering at METU (1978-1985). He was Chairman of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at METU (1988-1997).

Prof. Doruk did research in: Metallography, X-ray Metallography, electrochemical measurements as applied to corrosion and stress corrosion; mechanical measurements as applied to creep and fatigue; mechanical characterization of materials; structures and structural instabilities in chromium-nickel stainless steels; fracture mechanics, structure and mechanical properties of composites; creep rupture; corrosion as well as passivity and electrodeposition.

Prof. Doruk taught undergraduate and graduate students at METU, and offered courses for industrial training in corrosion and chemical cleaning of boilers. He supervised graduate students on several research topics. He gained industrial experience through working in the leading industries in West Germany and through numerous contracted research projects in METU.

Prof. Doruk was a member of the Chamber of Turkish Metallurgical Engineers, member of the Structure and Materials Panel of NATO/AGARD (1981-1994), member of the International Congress of Fracture (ICF), member of the International Congress on Corrosion (ICC) and Founding Member of the Corrosion Association of Turkey. He was also a Founding Fellow of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (1986).

In November 1999, Prof. Doruk was made “Honorary Senator” of the Technical University of Darmstadt (TUD), Germany, in recognition of his work to establish scientific collaboration between METU (Turkey), and TUD (Germany).

Prof. Doruk will be greatly missed by his colleagues and fellow scientists in Turkey and the Islamic World. “Ina Lillah Wa Ina Ilaihi Raj’oon.”

IAS President, Fellows and staff offer their heartfelt condolences to his family and friends throughout the World.

 

IAS 2012 Symposium Proceedings Online

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IAS 2012 Conference Proceedings has  recently been uploaded onto the IAS website <www.iasworld.org> under the section Recent Publications or directly http://www.iasworld.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Astana-Contents-Final.pdf

Proceedings of the IAS Symposium on

 “SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE MUSLIM
WORLD: ACHIEVEMENTS AND PROSPECTS
,”

organised in Astana/ Kazakhstan;

22-23 May 2012

 

 

The Islamic Sciences In The Western World (Middle Ages-Renaissance) Exchanges, Transmission, Influence

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Impact of Islamic studies on West explored in conference
By Rula Samain – Apr 25,2017

AMMAN — The impact of Islamic studies on the West is the focus of a three-day conference which began in Amman on Tuesday.

The International Conference on The Islamic Sciences in the Western World (Middle Ages — Renaissance) Exchanges, Transmission, Influence, brings together scientists and researchers from the Arab world and beyond. 

The conference, organised by the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) in cooperation with the International Union of Academies (UAI), Petra University and UNESCO, will review the impact of Islamic studies on the West, using foreign studies to assess this impact in detail.

Inaugurating the event, HRH Prince Hassan, who chairs the RIIFS, called for an approach to science which puts humankind at the centre of the equation of sustainability and development, to enable us to perform our duty, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

He said that the physical world yearns for order in chaos, highlighting the necessity to establish peace.

“The peace I am talking about is the one that starts from within, that reflects on addressing the shared responsibility in cooperation with science and politics; the medium and long term programmes specially in discussing energy, food and water.”  

Noting that Jordan is the second water poorest country worldwide, he asked “How can any country continue or survive without a proper regional method of dealing with water problem?”

He stressed the need for an integrated vision to establish peace with a proper knowledge of sustainable development, calling for a new humanitarian world order. 

The real form of capital is the human capital, Prince Hassan said, urging “intellectual-emotional” investment through what he called “The Paths of Thoughts” that can lead to mutual understanding.

Peace can be realised through international cooperation and sharing of responsibility in dealing with politics and science, the prince highlighted, adding that this requires integration and coordination among various initiatives and a holistic vision that puts science in the service of peace. 

The prince said that the interfaith dialogue between the followers of religion is also between those with non-religion, adding “The main concern now is how to dialogue with the other.” 

UAI Deputy Secretary General Jean-Luc De Paepe gave a briefing about the union, which was created in 1919 in Paris with a general secretariat established in Brussels. It is currently made up of more than 100 academies from 63 countries, including Jordan.

Majida Omar, RIIFS’ director, highlighted the importance of the conference in researching our mutual history and knowledge, which helps on the road to progress.

TÜBA Academy Prizes 2017

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TÜBA Academy Prizes are annually awarded to three of the nominated scientists each being in one of the following categories of sciences namely 1) Basic and Engineering sciences, 2) Health and Life sciences and 3) Social Sciences and Humanities. Every year one of the prizes is awarded to scientists with Turkish connection, meaning those who work in Turkey and/or study Turkey.

TÜBA Academy Prizes are given to those scientists with ORIGINAL, LEADING and PATH-BREAKING works in their fields. Nominations are made by TÜBA members, academies and inter-academy organizations with which TÜBA is in cooperation and other science institutions and scientists invited as nominators. Members of TÜBA and those who take part in the evaluation process of the prizes cannot be nominated.

The nominees are evaluated by a Prize Committee in each category. The Committees, composed of TÜBA members and renowned scientists, examine the works of the candidates via a rigorous process involving peer-review and identify the possible prize laureates. The laureates are announced by the Academy Council of TÜBA. The Academy Prizes, comprising an Academy Medal and prize money of USD 30.000 for each, are awarded in a special ceremony. The Prize Ceremony is held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Turkey.

https://www.facebook.com/turkiyebilimlerakademisi

https://twitter.com/TUBA_TurkBlmAkd

http://www.tuba.gov.tr

 

Prof. Ali H. Nayfeh passed away

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وفاة العالم علي حسن نايفة

27-03-2017 07:08 PM

توفي في وقت مبكر من صباح 27/3/2017، العالم الفلسطيني الاردني الكبير والأستاذ في الجامعة الأردنية، على حسن نايفة، عن عمر ناهز 83 عامًا.

وتخرج «نايفة» في جامعة ستانفورد في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية، وحصل على درجتي الماجستير والدكتوراه في عام ونصف العام فقط، وأشرف على نحو 80 رسالة دكتوراه، وله عدة مؤلفات في مجال الهندسة الميكانيكية.

وحصل العالم «علي حسن نايفة» على جائزة بنجامين فرانكلين في الهندسة الميكانيكية عام 2014، وهى الجائزة التي تُعادل جائزة نوبل في العلوم، علاوة على جائزة ليبانوف من الجمعية الأمريكية للمهندسين عام 2005، ووسام الشرف الذهبي من أكاديمية العلوم المتخصصة عام 2007.

وولد العالم «علي حسن نايفة» عام 1933 في قرية الشويكة في فلسطين، وعاش طفولته في الأردن، ثم انتقل إلى الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية لدراسة العلوم الهندسية، وعمل أستاذا في جامعة فيرجينا للتكنولوجيا منذ عام 1976، علاوة على تطوعه للتدريس في الجامعة الأردنية. وهو الشقيق الأكبر للدكتور عدنان نايفه والدكتور منير نايفه، زميل أكاديمية العالم الإسلامي للعلوم.

                                                                          Prof. Ali H. Nayfeh passed away

Professor Ali H. Nayfeh passed away on 27 March 2017,  in Amman, Jordan. He was 83.

Prof. Nayfeh earned his BS in engineering science (1962), MS (1963) and PhD (1964) in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University all in four and a half years. He has made seminal contributions to several branches of science and engineering, including solid and fluid mechanics, acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, linear and nonlinear control of engineering systems, aerospace engineering, power systems, power electronics, ship dynamics and stability, sway control of military and commercial cranes, atomic force microscopes, and micro-electromechanical systems.

Recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering. (Presented for the development of novel methods to model complex engineering systems in structural dynamics, acoustics, fluid mechanics and electromechanical systems), 2014.

Prof. Nayfeh was the author of several books and hundreds of research papers, and has supervised over 80 doctoral dissertations.

Dr Nayfeh was born on 1933 in the Palestinian town of Shuwaikah / Tulkarm in Palestine. He was the eldest brother of Dr Adnan Nayfeh and Dr Munir Nayfeh FIAS.

إنا لله وإنا اليه راجعون،،،،،

 

IAS 2011 Conference Proceedings Online

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IAS 2011 Conference Proceedings has  recently been uploaded onto the IAS website <www.iasworld.org> under the section Recent Publications or directly http://www.iasworld.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Qatar-Contents-Final.pdf

Proceedings of the 18th IAS Science Conference on

 “The Islamic World and The West:

Rebuilding Bridges through Science and Technology,”

organised in Doha/ Qatar;

22-24 October 2011

Jordanian princess, a science advocate, awarded a Chancellor’s Citation

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On a recent visit to UC Berkeley, Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan, an advocate for science as a catalyst for change in the Arab world and the president of Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society, was awarded a Chancellor’s Citation by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

The Jordanian royal visitor met with the chancellor and other campus dignitaries on Feb. 23 in California Hall.

The Chancellor’s Citation is awarded to distinguished visitors, alumni and friends whose great achievements the university salutes and whose presence honors and benefits the campus.

Professor Omar M. Yaghi, who holds the Neeltje Tretter Chair in the Department of Chemistry and is the founding director of the Berkeley Global Science Institute (BGSI), has worked closely with Princess Sumaya over the past five years to re-engage the Jordanian diaspora community in scientific research to address global problems. A BGSI delegation met with the royal visitor to discuss plans for building a Reticular Foundry, to serve as a hub of scientific research attracting top talent from throughout Jordan and the Middle East region. This joint partnership will train the next generation of problem-solvers, innovators, and scientific leaders.

The princess also serves as chair of the World Science Forum (WSF), which will be hosted by Jordan in November 2017. WSF is a leading forum for science and policymaking, and this will be the first time it is held in the Middle East. The theme for the 2017 WSF is “Science for Peace,” and HRH has said she hopes that the event will inspire young people and give policymakers renewed appreciation for science and the scientific method.

Princess Sumaya was accompanied by Asal Al-Tal, deputy chief of mission from the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., as well as Conor de Lion, RSS director of external relations. In a surprise, she was joined by her mother, HRH Princess Sarvath El Hassan, who made a special trip to Berkeley to witness and celebrate her daughter’s receipt of the honorary award.

Harvard University Marshal welcomes Princess Sumaya bint El-Hassan of Jordan

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Princess Sumaya Bint Hassan of Jordan

February 17, 2017

Harvard University Marshal welcomed Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El-Hassan of Jordan at the Marshal’s Office during her visit to the Center for Green Buildings and Cities at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Professor Ali Malkawi accompanied her, along with three aides. Her visit also included stops at Widener Library and the Harvard Art Museums.

http://marshal.harvard.edu/news/princess-sumaya-bint-hassan-jordan

TÜBA 2016 Academy Prizes Awarded

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2017-02-01-odul-25

TÜBA 2016 Academy Prizes have been awarded to Şerif Mardin, Mary-Claire King and Omar M. Yaghi.

TÜBA Academy Prizes are annually given, in three categories, to nominated scientists with original, leading and path-breaking works in their fields. Nominations are made by TÜBA members, science academies in the world and other science institutions and scientists invited as nominators.

Şerif Mardin, of Istanbul City University, received the prize in the category of Social Sciences and Humanities in recognition of his works in modernity and religion, modernization in Turkey, ideology and civil society, centre-periphery and neighbourhood-school relations in Turkey.

Mary-Claire King, Professor of Genome Sciences and of Medical Genetics at the University of Washington, has been awarded in the category of Health and Life Sciences in recognition of her studies in the field of breast cancer genetics.

Omar M. Yaghi,  the James and Neeltje Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, has become the receiver of the prize in the category of Basic and Engineering Sciences in recognition of his works in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech at an awards ceremony, held by the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.

 

Prof. Bekhzod Yuldashev FIAS becomes President of Uzbekistan Science Academy

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yuldashevTashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) — Academician Bekhzod Yuldashev was elected as the President of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, the press service of the Academy said.

On 10 January, General Meeting of the Uzbekistan Science Academy was held in Tashkent. Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov participated in the meeting.

During the meeting, the doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, academician Bekhzod Yuldashev was elected president of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. In this post, he replaced academician Shavkat Salikhov.

During the meeting, the participants made suggestions to strengthen cooperation between research institutions, universities and industry.

It was noted that the Government pays great attention to comprehensive support for basic research. It was stated that a concept of development of the Academy of Sciences and industry research is developed now.

http://www.uzdaily.com/articles-id-38097.htm

TÜBA 2016 Academy Prizes Awarded

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tubaTÜBA 2016 Academy Prizes have been awarded to Şerif Mardin, Mary-Claire King and Omar M. Yaghi. TÜBA warmly congratulates the laureates.

TÜBA Academy Prizes are annually given, in three categories, to nominated scientists with original, leading and path-breaking works in their fields. Nominations are made by TÜBA members, science academies in the world and other science institutions and scientists invited as nominators.

Şerif Mardin, of Istanbul City University, received the prize in the category of Social Sciences and Humanities in recognition of his works in modernity and religion, modernization in Turkey, ideology and civil society, centre-periphery and neighbourhood-school relations in Turkey.

Mary-Claire King, Professor of Genome Sciences and of Medical Genetics at the University of Washington, has been awarded in the category of Health and Life Sciences in recognition of her studies in the field of breast cancer genetics.

Omar M. Yaghi,  the James and Neeltje Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, has become the receiver of the prize in the category of Basic and Engineering Sciences in recognition of his works in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).

The Academy Prizes comprise an Academy Medal and prize money of USD 30.000 for each laureate. The laureates will be awarded their prizes by his Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a special ceremony to be held in the Presidential Palace.

Speaking on the announcement of TUBA Academy Prizes, Professor Ahmet Cevat Acar, the president of TÜBA, said that the Academy Prizes constituted a milestone in the mission of TUBA and it has become an important channel for Turkey to address international scientific community.

http://www.tuba.gov.tr/news/tuba-2016-academy-prizes-awarded/id/1590